Atiku Abubakar (PDP) Peter Obi (LP) Bola Tinubu (APC), Dumebi Kachikwu (ADC) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP), were amongst the names, on the final list of Presidential and National Assembly Candidates for the 2023 general elections, published by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, on Tuesday, September 21, 2022.

Also on the list are Sen. Godswill Akpabio (APC Akwa Ibom North West) David Umahi (APC, Ebonyi South), Michael Diden (Ejele, PDP Delta South). However, the name of the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan was conspicuously omitted from the INEC list.

Senator Lawan has been enmeshed in a messy duel with his partyman, Bashir Machina over who would represent the senatorial district in the next election after Lawan had contested for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and lost to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Following his loss, Lawan opted to reclaim his ticket as APC candidate for the Yobe North Senatorial district, but this led to a tussle for the ticket with Machina, who won the Primaries and had survived several attempts to overturn his victory, including a forged letter purportedly claiming he had quit the party thus relinquishing his ticket to Lawan and another audacious move by the leaders of the Party in Yobe state, who forwarded Lawan’s name to INEC as their Yobe North Senatorial Candidate, even without conducting a substitution primary for the ticket. The matter is presently in Court.

Senator Godswill Akpabio had better fortune as the Independent National Electoral Commission complied with an Abuja Federal High Court judgement affirming his candidacy for the Akwa Ibom Northwest Senatorial District, though his challenger and former AIG of Police Udom Ekpoudom has fumed over the Court ruling and vowed to pursue his case to the bitter end.

While, Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi had to rely on a controversial substitution Senatorial Primary election for Ebonyi South, to finally oust the earlier announced winner, Ann Agom Eze, who has also been reportedly expelled from the party, after she refused to relinquish the ticket to Umahi or participate in the substitution primary, the Delta South PDP Senatorial Candidate, Hon. Michael Diden (AKA Ejele) was the temporary victim of purported court ruling which had sacked him, but had reportedly turned out to be a hoax.

Recall also that despite of several court cases and litigation initiated from within the major political parties and by concerned Nigerians against some of the top Candidates of the political parties, INEC still published the names of Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi and Bola Tinubu, pending the final legal adjudication of the matters.

It would also be recalled that Dumebi Kachikwu, businessman and founded of Roots Television, having outmanouvred Kingsley Moghalu, former Deputy Director, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to clinch the Presidential ticket of the African Democratic Congress, ADC, is now embroiled in a legitimacy crisis as his party has reportedly now expelled him and seven others from the ADC, after an initial suspension, following the report of a Seven member disciplinary Committee, which found him guilty if all the charges, including gross misconduct and anti-party activities levelled against the Presidential Candidate

In all, 18 Presidential Candidates and 4,223 NASS candidates representing the 18 registered political parties would be slugging it out in the 2023 general election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, at its regular weekly meeting held on Tuesday, September 20, approved the final list of candidates for national elections (Presidential, Senatorial and Federal Constituencies) pursuant to section 32(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 and item 8 of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.

INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, explained that the publication of the full names and addresses of all nominated candidates follows the political parties’ conduct of primaries and completion of the nomination exercise.

“Nigerians may recall that at end of the process, the personal particulars of all nominated candidates were displayed in their constituencies nationwide as provided by section 29(3) of the Electoral Act.

“Subsequently, validly nominated candidates had the opportunity to voluntarily withdraw their candidature by notice in writing and personally deliver such notice to the political party that nominated them for the election. Thereafter, political parties substituted such candidates under section 31 of the Electoral Act for which the last day was 15th July 2022 for national elections and 12th August 2022 for State elections as clearly provided in item 6 of the Commission’s Timetable and Schedule of Activities.

“Thereafter, no withdrawal or substitution of candidates is allowed except in the event of death as provided in section 34(1) of the Electoral Act or pursuant to an order of a Court of competent jurisdiction”, he stated.

The list published today, according to Okoye, contains the names of candidates validly nominated for national elections at the close of party primaries and the period earmarked for withdrawal and substitution of candidates.

He also confirmed that the final list of candidates for State elections (Governorship and State Constituencies) will be published on 4th October 2022 as already indicated on the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2023 General Election.

“We note the fact that not all the political parties conducted primaries in all the constituencies, submitted the particulars of candidates that emerged from valid primaries or substituted their candidates after fresh primaries within 14 days as provided in section 33 of the Electoral Act.

“This has led to numerous litigations, some of which are ongoing. Where the Commission was served with Court orders by aggrieved aspirants or candidates before the publication of this list, these have been indicated under the remark column.

“In summary, all the 18 political parties have fielded candidates and their running mates for the Presidential election. For legislative elections, 1,101 candidates are vying for 109 Senatorial seats and 3,122 candidates for Federal Constituencies i.e. House of Representatives seats, making a total of 4,223 candidates contesting for 469 legislative positions. In terms of gender distribution, 3,875 candidates are male, made up of 35 for Presidential and Vice Presidential, 1,008 for Senate and 2,832 for House of Representatives. Similarly, 381 females comprising 1 for Presidential, 92 for Senate, and 288 for House of Representatives are contesting. There are also 11 Persons with Disability (PWDs) in the race.

“The list for specific constituencies is published in each State where they are located while the comprehensive nationwide list has been uploaded to the Commission’s website.

“We appeal to all political parties to channel any observations on the list of candidates to the Commission and such must be signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the political party and supported with an affidavit as provided in section 32(2) of the Electoral Act 2022”, the statement added.

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